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HHS Official: Immigrants on Student Visas Will Be ‘Eligible’ for Obamacare Subsidies

“You have to be a citizen or lawfully present" to qualify, HHS tells congressional committee.

by
Nicholas Ballasy

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August 7, 2013 - 12:03 am
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A Department of Health and Human Services official told the House Ways and Means Committee that immigrants living in the United States on temporary visas are eligible for federally subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, “depending on their income.”

“It was my understanding it was just going to be those that are citizens of the United States or here as permanent legal residents,” Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach said at a Thursday hearing on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. “Are there folks beyond that that are eligible for tax credit – taxpayer subsidies under this program?”

HHS Insurance Oversight Director Gary Cohen replied, “You have to be a citizen or lawfully present.”

When Gerlach asked for further explanation, Cohen said immigrants “could be here on a student visa and be eligible.”

Gerlach clarified Cohen’s statement by saying, “So a student from Germany comes to the United States to do four years of college; that student is going to be subsidized by taxpayers for health insurance?”

“They are eligible for subsidies depending on their income, yes,” Cohen replied.

He added that immigrants who “overstay” their visa would not be eligible for subsidies under the healthcare law.

Cohen also said the law’s “data hub” would allow HHS to verify applicants’ immigration status based on Homeland Security information.

New York Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley asked Cohen if any “personal data” would be stored on the hub.

“No. The hub just routes information from the secure data sources — IRS, Social Security, etc. — so that it — so that we can verify information that people put on their applications,” Cohen said.

Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s decision to delay income verification under the healthcare law.

Black told Cohen that three weeks ago HHS said they did not have the technology to verify the income of all applications.

“What’s changed is that we’ve looked at our process and we have confirmed that we are able to verify income for 100 percent of the applicants who will be submitting applications to the marketplaces,” Cohen said.

I’m just really curious how in just three weeks — with a rule being put out just three weeks ago to say we do not have the technology to be able to do that and yet three weeks later we’re now seeing, oh, all of a sudden we have the technology to do that,” Black asked.

That’s not right,” Cohen responded. “We said we were going to sample and now we’ve concluded that the sample size is going to be 100 percent.”

Crowley and many other Democratic members of the committee criticized the Republicans for their attempts to repeal the healthcare law.

“In terms of what would be helpful from Congress to aid with smooth implementation, are 40 repeal votes what you would consider being productive?” Crowley asked Cohen.

I don’t think they move the ball forward in terms of my job, no,” he replied.

“Will tomorrow’s 40th repeal vote to block tax credits from going to working families help with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in any way?” Crowley also asked.

Cohen said no and Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel told the committee the vote would not have “any impact.”

Nicholas Ballasy is a video journalist based in Washington, D.C. His interviews with prominent politicians and celebrities have been featured by media outlets including Fox News, NBC News, ABC News, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, the Washington Post. Follow his work at www.nickballasy.com.

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Top Rated Comments   
You should not pay the "tax" either--which of course is really a punitive fine. By paying the fine, you are accepting the ACA as a legitimate law. It is not; the entire system is broken (John Roberts and his fellow Supreme Court justices are obviously not competent) and criminals are in charge.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just declare everyone in the world an American citizen and get it over with and put 'em on welfare. What a politically correct joke this nation has become.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
How is it possible for Congress to deal with an administration whose spokespeople lie with such fluidity? They know that no one really believes their lies and they know that there's nothing anyone can do about it. The people running this administration are sociopaths.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (24)
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It's so reassuring that as a senior citizen I am not getting health care so these people can be covered. I think of that every time I pass a beggar on a street corner.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
this will be a huge underwriting disaster, I live in China and my kid needs a bone marrow transplant i sign him up for a class and health insurance for a few hundred dollars and stick the hated American for a half million dollar bill. I have been selling health insurance internationally for 30 years and this is brilliant in it's stupidity, I have to think that all they want to do is lose as much money as possible.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
So when are they going to allow the foreigners to vote in USA elections?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Simply the ACA Outrage dujour
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Foreign athletes and diplomats will also get coverage.

A better solution to Obamacare: simply DECREASE the 7.5% of AGI schedule A threshold for deducting health care to 1%. With a stroke of the pen and no extra personnel or regulation, everyone gets a break if they need it. Instead, of course Obamacare INCREASES the threshold to 10% and costs $2 trillion and requires 20000 pages of regulation and thousands of government regulators added to a 2000 page law. But that's the way democrats solve an alleged problem.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought the Gubment told us once that illegals would not be eligible for free health care, etc...Now they're telling us that their health care will be accomodated...Naturally at the tax payers expense!...Lies...Lies...And more Lies coming out of this administration!
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
so tell me again how only citizens would be eligible for these benefits?

What a joke, a sick sorry joke played by congress while they look to not be held to follow the law that everyone else is supposed to, save for those that bribe them, illegals, and so many others that the tax payers, the diminishing tax payer base, will be paying for
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gazing into my crystal ball I see a whole lot of waivers on the horizon. Does anybody know exactly when our government decided it should work more for the needs of Foreign Nationals instead of American Citizen Taxpayers?
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security a foreign national is defined simply as "an individual who is a citizen of any country other than the United States."
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
My Canadian "Foreign "Born National" Husband, is a law abiding, legally iimmigrated, (since1997), tax paying Green Card Holder. SO...while neither Hubby nor I are In favor of Obamacare, should we tell people like Hubby, you can either: 1) Buy your own Health Insurance & NOT pay taxes. 2) Hop on board the Obamacare train headed over the fiscal cliff & pay your taxes to cover it. I am pretty sure Hubby would choose Option #1. He has LIVED the nightmare that is Socialized Medicine & watched his Father die waiting 6 months to see a Cardiologist. Not ALL "Legal Immigrants" are Socialist...some have come here to escape Socialism.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"HHS Official: Immigrants on Student Visas Will Be ‘Eligible’ for Obamacare Subsidies"... with a voter registration application conveniently stapled to every check.
"Vote Democrat. It sure beats working."
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well isn't that just peachy.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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